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Leveraging Technology in Your Hiring Practices

November 28, 2010
by Tim Tolan
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It's Prime Time for Video Conferencing
Tim Tolan
Tim Tolan

Most readers of HCI share a common thread-in one way or another we are all in the technology business. Every morning we take on the day by strapping on our trusty smartphones and syncing our calendars once we arrive at our offices. Then it's time to sort through the e-mails that arrived during off hours, scanning and filing, or deleting spam, and other “time-wasters.” We sort through documents, add folders, give PowerPoint presentations, log on to hosted cloud computing applications and check on critical project plans using the latest software-all before lunch! As CIO, you want to lead by using the latest and greatest technology advances every single day to make sure you and your team are highly productive.


So why don't you use more technology in your hiring practices?

Earlier this year I began to ask myself that same question as I sought for ways to lower my expenses while delivering the same service levels my clients have come to know and expect. As much as I prefer to meet each and every candidate in-person during the course of a search assignment, it's nearly impossible given the geographic scope of our practice. Last fall I began experimenting with using a national video conferencing network as a way to visually screen and interview candidates in advance of scheduling a face-to-face interview.

It was love at first sight. The ability to see a reaction to a question or to watch candidates and their mannerisms before flying out to see them in person was a real eye-opener for me. Driving to a pre-defined destination to wait for the person on the other end to make the connection was fraught with its own set of challenges. That was then; this is now.

Today, after spending months working on a variety of ways to maintain our value equation while scaling our productivity, we now spend more than 50 percent of our interview cycles sitting at our own desks and conducting a video interview using a very low-cost, high-tech service that demonstrates our full use of technology. At first it was a little weird (for us and for candidates), but that diminished quickly. With high speed connectivity and a $30 camera (or one built-in to your laptop) the quality is unreal.

I strongly recommend that you implement and integrate video interviews as part of your hiring process. Though it will never replace the face-to-face time you and others in your organization spend with a candidate, it can help you save on your most precious commodity-your time. I also think that by asking candidates to meet you in a virtual room for a 45- to 60-minute discussion, you will be able to narrow the slate of candidates you need to see in person. I have a couple of clients now who refuse to meet by phone. It's video conference-period.

Outline the same series of questions you want to ask each candidate over a video call. It will help you gauge both their level of interest in an organization as well as your own interest in having a face-to-face meeting. CIOs are the organization's technology leader, and the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack. If you want to attract the best talent in the market, convey a message that your organization is a technology leader by using the latest video technology to screen your hires. It makes a huge impression.

Let's face it-the telephone was invented in March 1876. It's probably time to start thinking about using a new tool to increase productivity while raising the bar on candidates interested in joining your organization. You will be surprised at how much this can impress new recruits.

Tim Tolan is a senior partner at Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice. He can be reached at or at (843) 579-3077 ext. 301. His blog can be found at Healthcare Informatics 2010 December;27(12):80